There is such a thing as fertile ground for start-ups. Some locations have just the right factors needed for the success of a particular business -- lots of available capital, a skilled labor pool, the enriching atmosphere created by universities, advanced transportation facilities, and good roads, not to mention the psychic rewards of great weather, and in one instance you'll read about here, proximity to the beach.

The advantages of one location over another can be powerful. The question is, Are you in the right place for your business? Our ranking of the best cities in America for new and growing companies is the perfect place to begin looking for the answer.

The Lists
How does your city rate? The best metro areas in America, by the numbers

The Location Advantage
The right place made all the difference for these CEOs

City Pickers
Judge how well a city fits your business

The Two Loudoun Counties
Tracking the struggle between bucolic old and boomtime new in Virginia

Cities that Have Soared or Sunk as a Place to Start a Business
These cities have shown the largest rise or fall in Inc.'s ranking of the best places to start a business, from 1993 to 2000.

Related resources at inc.com:
Find links to more information about the cities on the list, as well as a Guide to Relocation
.